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Oral communication across the curriculum.

Proficiency in oral communication is necessary in school and in society. To do well in the different curriculum areas, pupils must speak with clarity and understanding. For example, in a discussion group in the social studies involving the topic "the pros and cons of raising taxes," pupils need to express knowledgeable ideas with appropriate voice inflection in stress, pitch, and juncture (pauses), including a proper pace. Listeners need to be able to comprehend what was communicated orally (semantics). The oral content may lack proper word order (syntax) which makes comprehension difficult.

The teacher must diagnose diverse types of errors in oral communication and provide objectives and learning opportunities which strengthen oral communication procedures (Ediger, 2011).

Teaching and Learning in Oral Communication

There are a plethora of learning opportunities involving oral communication which should assist pupils to do well in each academic area. These activities need to be goal centered. Thus, there are needed speaking skills which all need to embrace in communicating effectively. First of all, pupils need to be helped to perceive purpose in developing oral communication skills. These are not routine, nor done for the sake of emphasizing quality communication, but rather to assist pupils to communicate effectively. The receiver must be able to attach meaning to what the sender intends in communicating messages. Thus, much responsibility rests upon the pupil to send clear content. He/she must see reasons for engagement which might consist of an oral report, for example, about becoming a master craftsman, involving three stages of achievement (apprentice, journey man, and master) in a unit on the Middle Ages. The learner might have selected this topic in guild membership due to personal interests in making a product of that time. Criteria such as the following ,based on developmental needs, should be stressed emphasizing fluency in orally presenting ideas:

* developing and using an outline to present sequential subject matter

* having the subject matter well in mind when reporting to pupils

* using voice inflection and quality pacing to encourage listening (Ediger, 2011).

Excessive criteria should not be used at one time to assist pupils in listening. A few relevant criteria may well provide the right ingredient to assist pupils in good listening habits.

Second, high pupil involvement in an activity assists learners to attend and listen carefully to the thinking of others. Thus, within a science unit of study, pupils with teacher guidance might develop an experiment on air taking up space. Cooperating planning may include a crushed tissue paper placed inside an inverted tumbler. All need to see the occurrences clearly and raise questions when necessary. The inverted tumbler is then placed inside the classroom aquarium which is filled with water. Pupils then hypothesize as to what will happen to the crushed tissue paper. Each hypothesis is recorded pertaining to the one variable in the experiment. The teacher needs to appraise the quality of speaking/listening within the rich experience (See Tichman, 2008).

Third, pupils must cultivate good human relations among pupils and the teacher. Oral communication is hindered when negative remarks are made such as inherent rudeness, put downs, and downgrading of others.

There are feelings involved when negative words in messages are communicated. The communicator always must notice if receivers of subject matter are listening to notice the effectives of interacting orally with others. Assistance must be given to the pupil sending messages if there is a failure in listening. Volume may need to be increased or decreased. A pupil may not enunciate clearly thus hindering interactions. Speaking too rapidly or too slowly also affects the quality of listening. With the teacher recording problem areas and discussing these with the involved pupil might well assist in overcoming problem areas. Throughout, positive behaviors must be strengthened. Goleman (1998) has done much work in researching and writing about emotional intelligence. He emphasizes the importance of empathy in dealing with others. Too often, relations are strained or broken when patience wears out. Things are then said which otherwise would not be communicated. Many people lose jobs at the work place, not because of incompetency,but due to an unbridled tongue. Time needs to be spent on anger management. All need to control anger, lest one does something which will be dreaded in the short or long run.

Fourth, pupils need to have ample opportunities to practice quality oral communication skills. Thus, a variety of purposes in speaking need emphasis including the following:

* giving oral reports on relevant topics which capture learner interest

* providing directions in assisting another person in locating a necessary place

* interviewing a person

* giving an after dinner speech

* making introductions

* explaining how to make an object or play a game

* participating in a reader's theater (See Tiedt).

Each speaking experience needs to possess clarity in objectives and follow recommended criteria. Rules of conduct must be followed for listeners as well as speakers. These need to be followed and appraised, periodically, by pupils with teacher guidance.

Fifth, Bandura (1997) has done much research and writing on the self efficacy concept. The major objective of self efficacy is to be motivated and competent in a plethora of situations. Efficacy in oral communication must be enhanced. Thus, to become proficient here, pupils must experience success. Failure seemingly multiplies itself and hinders growth, development, and progress. An approach which assists in developing efficacy in speaking is to have pupils achieve adequate background information, for example, in a topic being pursued in a discussion. Pupils might then
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Author:Ediger, Marlow
Publication:Journal of Instructional Psychology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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